IFPI Takes ISP to Court to Impose Music Piracy Filter

The 'Big Four' record labels - EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner have started legal proceedings to force an ISP to end piracy on its network. The action, brought against Irish ISP, Eircom, is the first of its kind.

Eircom is the largest Irish ISP. Today, the Big Four record labels have started legal proceedings which they hope will force Eircom to effectively end music piracy on its network. According to the Ireland.com report, this action is the first against an ISP, rather than individual file-sharers.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly today admitted the proceedings at the court under the Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000. It appears the labels are trying to get an order to effectively force Eircom to take responsibility for their customer’s actions by saying that it’s the ISP that is doing the ‘making available’ to the public, by facilitating the infringement.

Eircom’s lawyers see if differently. They say that Eircom was “not on notice of specific illegal activity that infringed the rights of the companies”, adding that it was under no legal obligation to monitor traffic on its network.

Willie Kavanagh, Managing Director of EMI records in Ireland said of Eircom: “with the greatest of respect” it was “well aware” that its customers used its networks to infringe copyrights “on a grand scale”.

Previously, Eircom has refused to use any filtering technology to interfere with file-sharers, something the labels wish to address in this case too.

It looks like the IFPI has shifted its focus from the individual filesharer to the ISPs. Last month, the IFPI won a court case in Denmark, and the ISP “Tele2″ was ordered to block all access to The Pirate Bay. Tele2 announced later that it will fight the decision.

Banning illegal filesharing from their network, voluntary or not, is in the best interest of ISPs according to the IFPI: “Illegal P2P file-sharing may have helped drive broadband subscriptions in the past, yet today these activities, particularly in respect of movies, are hogging bandwidth,” they state.

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